Election 2015: Comparing the Manifestos

Fairness, Not FavoursHow will our politicians respond to the issues facing Britain’s Muslims? We highlight those manifesto commitments that address community concerns.

mv2015-hotpurple-cmykWe cross-reference issues raised in the MCB document, ‘Fairness Not Favours: British Muslim Perspectives at the 2015 General Election‘ and cite corresponding policy pronouncements in the respective manifestos.

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Work closely with faith and community organisations, such as the Community Security Trust (which works to protect the Jewish community against antisemitic attacks) and the Muslim Council of Britain, to prevent hate crime, including at places of worship like synagogues and mosques. We are determined to combat antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate in the UK and internationally. (p108) Work with religious and community leaders, civil society groups and social media sites to counter the narratives put forward by extremists, and create the space for the expression of contrary viewpoints and religious interpretations. (p125) 
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A Labour Government will strengthen communities, with fair rules on immigration, by defending the right to practice one’s religion free from persecution, and by tackling the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, working with communities and institutions to take tough action on practices such as forced marriages and FGM that have no place in Britain. (p7 Labour BAME Manifesto)

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UKIP is committed to protecting religious freedoms for all believers in the UK, in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We believe, however, that those faiths and beliefs must exist firmly within a British framework. We will not condone any faith position which is itself intolerant and refuses to recognise the human rights of others. (UKIP Manifesto p61)

“We will review the legislation governing hate crimes. We will review the legislation governing hate crimes, including the case for extending the scope of the law to cover crimes committed against people on the basis of disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.” (Conservative Party Manifesto p60)

We will take a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime, such as anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. We will challenge prejudice before it grows, whether in schools, universities or on social media. (Labour Party Manifesto p.54) Ensure hate crimes are properly recorded, including incidents of Islamophobia, as is currently done with other types of crime. We will review police and CPS guidance to ensure anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other hate crimes on social media are adequately covered. And we will challenge social media companies to take more responsibility to prevent harassment and hate crimes prosecuted through their sites. (p14 Labour BAME Manifesto) Develop a cross- government strategy on hate crime, from schools to social media, to tackle the growth in anti- Semitism and Islamophobia. (p15 and p7 Labour BAME Manifesto)

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Continue to tackle institutional racism in the police force and the wider criminal justice system. Require all police forces to have equality and diversity liaison officers whose remit is to tackle and take preventive action on crimes originating in discrimination against any group, and to treat crimes arising from such discrimination on a par with racist crimes. (p25) Make equality and diversity lessons mandatory in all schools, from the first year of primary education onwards, to combat all forms of prejudice and bullying, to promote understanding and acceptance of difference and to ensure community cohesion. (p25) Ensuring that all schools that serve particular vulnerable communities, for example the Jewish, Muslim or Sikh communities, are adequately protected from sectarian attacks.
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We want our Parliament to look more like Britain. We are proud of our record in strengthening the representation of women, ethnic minorities, and other under-represented groups in politics and public life. We remain committed to achieving a better balance in Parliament, including through the use of allwomen shortlists in Labour Party parliamentary selection contests. We will establish a comprehensive race equality strategy to break down the barriers still faced by black and minority ethnic communities. Our aim is to make sure our national institutions, including Parliament, the police, judiciary, civil service, and the boardrooms of our companies, are more representative of our diverse country. (p67) A Labour government will be relentless in championing equality of opportunity from recruitment through to the very top of the workplace, establishing a new Commission to set targets and drive greater ethnic diversity in our boardrooms. (p16 BAME)

Require diversity in Public Appointments. We will introduce a presumption that every shortlist should include a BAME candidate. We will establish an independent committee that will monitor the drive for greater diversity in public appointments and verify the independence of the appointment process to public bodies, boards and institutions. (p109)
Prohibit discrimination on the grounds of religion in the provision of public services. Move to ‘name blank’ recruitment wherever possible in the public sector. (p109)           Ensure access to finance for all, tackling discrimination in the provision of financial services and supporting products that increase financial inclusion. (p27)
Aspire to a 50:50 Parliament by 2025 with equal numbers of women and men. (p58) Work vigorously towards ensuring that all levels of government and public bodies are representative of the diversity of the populations for whom they work. (p26) Ensure that the public sector does more to employ more Black and Minority Ethnic employees. Require 40% of all members of public company and public sector boards to be women. (p27)
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We will review the legislation governing hate crimes, including the case for extending the scope of the law to cover crimes committed against people on the basis of disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity. (Conservative Party Manifesto p60)

Search powers on BAME people and the high proportion of ethnic minority deaths in police custody have undermined trust in the vital work Police officers do. That is why the next Labour government will strengthen the system of inspection and investigation, with a new Police Standards Authority to replace the discredited and weak IPCC that people have lost faith in. It is unacceptable that investigations take so long to get started and to get to the truth, often resulting in lessons not being learned. We will reform the practice of Stop and Search by making clear in law that stopping someone on the basis of the colour of their skin is illegal, discriminatory and wrong. (p12 BAME)

Ensure proper oversight of the security services.   Identify practical alternatives to the use of closed material procedures within the justice system, including the provisions of the 2013 Justice and Security Act, with the aim of restoring the principle of open justice. (p111) Improving the safeguards in police stop and search powers in England and Wales with tighter guidance and requiring police to wear body cameras in Section 60 areas, the establishment of which will require judicial sanction. (p108)
Continue to tackle institutional racism in the police force and the wider criminal justice system. Require all police forces to have equality and diversity liaison officers whose remit is to tackle and take preventive action on crimes originating in discrimination against any group, and to treat crimes arising from such discrimination on a par with racist crimes. (p25) Restrict police use of random stop and search powers, which especially damage police relationships with young people. (p76) Take proportionate measures to protect against terrorism, ensuring that civil liberties are not undermined in the process, that communities are not scapegoated and that action reflects a genuine assessment of the threat to our security. We need targeted policing and security service activities, not mass surveillance, prisons that rehabilitate those convicted of terrorism offences and effective programmes to prevent radicalisation and to deradicalise individuals. Uphold the principles of freedom of speech and peaceful protest, including support for vulnerable communities of all religious faiths and none. (p69)
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We will allow parents to continue to choose faith-based schools within the state-funded sector and allow the establishment of new faith schools. We will ensure all faith schools develop an inclusive admissions policy and end unfair discrimination on grounds of faith when recruiting staff, except for those principally responsible for optional religious instruction. (p58)
We will phase out public funding of schools run by religious organisations.  Schools may teach about religions, but should not encourage adherence to any particular religious beliefs. (p37)
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 Support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, robustly defending the right of Israel to protect its security, while continuing to condemn illegal settlement building, which undermines the prospects for peace. (Conservative Party Manifesto p76)

We remain committed to a comprehensive two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a viable and independent state of Palestine. (Labour Party Manifesto p75)

Remain committed to a negotiated peace settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which includes a two-state solution. We condemn disproportionate force used by all sides. We condemn Hamas’ rocket attacks and other targeting of Israeli civilians. We condemn Israel’s continued illegal policy of settlement expansion, which undermines the possibility of a twostate solution. We support recognition of the independent State of Palestine as and when it will help the prospect of a two-state solution. (Liberal Democrat Party Manifesto p145)
We seek a just, sustainable and peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, based on mutual recognition of the rights to independent statehood for Palestinians and Israelis. We condemn human rights violations by both parties and the oppression and disproportionate use of aggression by the Israeli government against the people of Gaza. We seek to suspend the EU–Israel Association Agreement. (Green Party Manifesto p69)
 We want to see a peaceful, two-state solution in Israel and the Palestinian territories. (UKIP Manifesto p67)

 The next Conservative Government will scrap the Human Rights Act, and introduce a British Bill of Rights. This will break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights, and make our own Supreme Court the ultimate arbiter of human rights matters in the UK. (p60) We will scrap Labour’s Human Rights Act and introduce a British Bill of Rights which will restore common sense to the application of human rights in the UK. (Conservative Party p73)

A Labour Government will stand up for citizens’ individual rights, protecting the Human Rights Act and reforming, rather than walking away from, the European Court of Human Rights. (p67)   This commitment to universal human rights will be at the heart of our foreign policy across the world. (Labour Party Manifesto p76)

Protect the Human Rights Act and enshrine the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in UK law. We will take appropriate action to comply with decisions of UK courts and the European Court of Human Rights. (Liberal Democrat Manifesto p114)
Retain the principle that human rights are the common property of the whole world by keeping the Human Rights Act and retaining the UK’s membership of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Council of Europe. (p58) Making UK foreign policy genuinely independent, based on the principles of shared responsibility, cooperative security and human rights. (p68) Outlaw the use of torture, the sale of torture equipment and the rendition of people to countries where torture is not prohibited, and enforce the laws against it. We condemn state-sanctioned breaches of human rights by countries such as China, Syria, Sudan and Pakistan, as well as by individuals or organisations, and we advocate the use of sanctions and legal action via the International Criminal Court for those
violating international human rights standards. (Green Party p69)
 We will remove ourselves from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights: the Strasbourg Court whose interpretation of the European Convention of Human Rights has been known to put the rights of criminals above those of victims. Our own Supreme Court will act as the final authority on matters of Human Rights. Our human rights will be enshrined in law via the introduction of a new, consolidated UK Bill of Rights. (UKIP Manifesto p53)